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Cowboy Gear: Ropes

Posted by on Mar 2, 2019

Slang terms for Cowboy Ropes included Line, string, ketch-rope, clothes line, throw rope, saddle rope, grass rope, twine, whale line, hard twist, hair rope, or pepper-and-salt rope.   Whatever you call it, they say that a range cowboy did everything with his rope but eat.   Vaqueros in early New Spain (Spanish empire established in North America) made their ropes from braided strips of untanned hide. The ropes were thick and stretched up to 20 yards in length.  Other early materials included silk manila, a hard-twist rope, inexpensive to make and good for all-around roping uses. There are also maguey ropes, made from the fibers of the maguey plant, from which the popular drink mescal is also produced. There were ropes made from linen or braided cotton. Mane-hair ropes were called cabresto. Lariat is the Americanized version of la reata, Spanish for “the rope.” Lasso, first coming from Portuguese origins laco, meaning to snare. Whatever the materials, the Mexican vequero impressed the early cowhands with his proficiency and skill.     Dally, from the Spanish word dar la vuelta, means to wrap around an object, literally “giving her a turn.” In this case the rope is dallied around the saddle horn. The give in a dallied rope eliminates the stress of a sudden stop on...

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Collecting Recipes

Posted by on Feb 22, 2019

Cookbooks take up three shelves above the desk in our kitchen, some old, some inherited and some new. My favorites are those old, used and sometimes stained binders filled with family favorites  put together by church ladies or quilting clubs. I find them in used book stores and sometimes in unexpected places, hidden behind cast-off treasures in antique stores. I have to confess that I enjoy reading the cookbook more than I enjoy the actual task of cooking. It seems our life is so busy, and there’s the menu planning, the buying of the stuff, the prep work, and finally the actual cooking part. When I have a free evening to actually cook, the boys request their tried and true favorites.  Sometimes they seem annoyed when I change things up or experiment with a new dish. None the less, I can’t help but keep collecting and reading, and on occasion, throw in something new for my family. This past week, I tried an old cow camp recipe, MEXICAN BEEF, which I discovered while researching the era of the great cattle drives in Texas. (I’m happy to report that my guys ate it!) I’m digging deep into Texas cowboy legend, Texas Longhorns, and cow camp food. The book will be published in 2020 by TwoDot...

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Cowboy Gear: Saddles

Posted by on Feb 1, 2019

“The West was won and conquered by the men who sit in saddle leather.” Saddle, a cowboy’s workbench and his throne. In the West, known as cow saddles, range saddles, stock saddles. In the East as Mexican saddles, Western saddles or cowboy saddles. Western cowboys were not impressed with the small, pad-saddles of the Eastern rider and referred to them as hog skins, kidney pads, pimples, or postage stamps. Made for riding, not for working stubborn Longhorns, most came...

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From Vequero to Cowboy

Posted by on Jan 18, 2019

What’s the difference between Vequero or Cowboy? Cattle handlers were called many names with various meanings over the past 150 years, beginning with the great cattle drive era to present day. Today cowboy is the most familiar term, but in the old days it meant something entirely different. The great cattle drives as we know it really took off in 1866 when Texas pioneer and cattleman Charles Goodnight drove a herd to Fort Sumner and then on to Colorado...

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